Zmievskaya Balka

Coordinates: 47°14′44″N 39°39′06″E / 47.2456°N 39.6517°E / 47.2456; 39.6517

Zmievskaya Ravine Memorial

Zmievskaya Balka (Russian: Змиёвская балка, IPA: [zmʲɪˈjɵfskəjə ˈbaɫkə]), Zmiyovskaya Balka is a site in Rostov-on-Don, Russia at which 27,000 Jews and Soviet civilians were massacred in 1942 to 1943 by the SS Einsatzgruppe D during the Holocaust in Russia. It is considered to be the largest single mass murder site of Jews on Russian territory during the Second World War. The name means "the ravine of the snakes".

Wartime eventsEdit

During the course of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia, Wehrmacht troops occupied Rostov-on-Don on 21 November 1941, and held the city for eight days until the Red Army retook the city. The Wehrmacht recaptured the city on 23 July 1942, and were accompanied by Einsatzkommando 10a, commanded by Heinrich Seetzen. The Einsatzkommando and Geheime Feldpolizei initially arrested some 700 people on the grounds that they were Soviet "partisans and party functionaries" and executed about 400 by 2 August 1942. [1]

Although many Jews had fled from Rostov when the city was under the control of the Red Army, about 2,000 remained and the Einsatzkommando began registering them, demanding that they gather at collecting points on 11 August, 1942. Between 11 August and 13 August, the Jewish men of Rostov were marched to Zmievskaya Balka, a ravine outside the city, where they were shot by the Einsatzkommando. The women, children and elderly were gassed in trucks, and their bodies buried in the same ravine.[1][2]

After the initial massacres, until February 1943, the SS continued to bring thousands of Jews to be killed at the Zmievskaya ravine, by when between 15,000 and 18,000 Jews had been murdered in further mass shootings. [1]

Communists and Red Army soldiers were also killed and buried there, along with their families. Among those murdered at Zmievskaya Balka was the pioneering psychologist Sabina Spielrein.


On 9 May 1975, the city administration of Rostov-on-Don dedicated the Zmievskaya Ravine Memorial at the site, commemorating the mass murders committed by German forces in the ravine. [1]

The monument has become the site of annual memorial ceremonies.[3]

Notable victimsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Zmievskaya Balka Memorial". Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance. Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  2. ^ "Rostov on Don". The Untold Stories: The Murder Sites of the Jews in the Occupied Territories of the former USSR. Jerusalem, Israel: Yad Vashem. The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Rostov Jewish Community Calls For Survivors, Children to Remember Zmievskaya Balka".

External linksEdit